The avalanche of COVID-19 is not yet over. In South Asia or to be more specific in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan the community spread of the pandemic is still peaking. But at the same time international cricket is slowly preparing to get back into business as usual. Situation in New Zealand, Australia and England is fast getting back into business as usual. England West Indies bilateral series is all set to start next month. Pakistan is getting to ready to visit England.
At the time of writing this the fate of ICC T20 world cup and Asia Cup are hanging in a balance. International tournaments require arranging flights from different countries, arranging hotels for teams, in country (inter city air travel), hotel accommodation. It seems highly unlikely that ICC T20 would be possibly on schedule. But there is an outside chance that Asia Cup may be staged at alternate venues of Sri Lanka. IF ICC T20 world cup does not happen IP 2020 may be held in some form in Sri Lanka. Few bilateral series of Bangladesh with Australia, New Zealand and now with Sri Lanka have been postponed. According to BCB situation in Bangladesh is still not favorable for even organizing practice sessions. But with most other teams preparing in various manner Bangladesh may be caught off guard when international cricket resumes again.
We are very much aware that domestic cricket structure of Bangladesh is the weakest among the ICC full member countries. Even Afghanistan has much stronger mechanism for talent hunting and phase wise development of players for different formats of the game. Among the ICC associates Nepal is also gearing. It is not that Bangladesh lacks raw talent. Different age group teams under care of BKSP and some privately operated cricket coaching system are producing young talents. But country wide operation of BCB is so weak and inadequate that the development of cricket career of many players are not growing beyond a certain level. Several players like Mustafiz, Soumya, Sabbir, Nafis are still struggling to fulfill their promise. Several other players like Bijoy, Shahriar Nafis, Tushar Imran, Naem Islam, Abdur Razzak could not grow to full bloom.
Bangladesh in 20 years of achieving ICC full membership stays at 9th position test, 7th in ODI and 8th in T20 ranking. Success comes once in blue moon. But given the poluarity and enthusiasm Bangladesh should been within top five in all formats by now and sustain there. The difference of domestic cricket of Bangladesh with Australia England, India and Sri Lanka is visible. Wickets are not up to standard, umpiring is poor, facilities in most venues are inadequate. We find very little vision or perspective planning. If something is not done outside the box we can not expect cricket breaking the barrier and getting up and growing smoothly.
Bangladesh following the toes of IPL started BPL T20 franchise cricket. While IPL produces innumerable numbers of top quality cricketers BPL failed doing that. Has anyone done any analysis why it happened? Why after so many years of BPL Bangladesh remains at the bottom of the ladder in ICC T20 ranking? Bangladesh even struggle to compete with Afghanistan. Players of Afghanistan and Nepal feature in KFC Big bash T20 tournament in Australia. But none but Shakib was even approached playing there. Afghanistan produces quality wrist spinners of world class, even Nepal produced Lamichand, who can walk into any international team. Bangladesh could not produce any. Bangladesh was lucky getting Mustafiz and Taskin. But they are not yet stable. We find no plans for talent hunting and development of specialist players.
BCB directors are involved with domestic teams in various capacities creating conflicts of interest. But there are hardly any initiative for creating new players. Bangladesh playing in all three formats need at least 100 players of international standard for representing the national team. But truly speaking there is none in view still now to create pressure on Shakib, Tamim, Mushfique and Mahmudullah. Mashrafe can still force his position in ODI team. It is sad commentary for Bangladesh Cricket.
It is not that Bangladesh Cricket lack money or resources. Whenever team goes abroad money is spent right and left on BCB directors (air travel and associated costs), even sometime Helicopters are used for travelling inside Bangladesh. But if one looks at domestic tournament one has every reason to feel frustrated. Match fixing and motivated umpiring are regularly alleged.
There are quality former players like Omar Khaled Rumi, Waheedul Gani, Jahangir Shah Badsha, Mainul Haq, Shafiqul Huq Heera, Mohammad Rafique. They can be tasked for talent hunting from regional cricket. But before all these Cricket at district level, schools must be better organized, cricket clinics must be held regularly. The national cricket coaches must spend more time in Bangladesh for development of cricket. We definitely have high value international coaches. Why not talented local coaches attached with each of the international coaches? We are not sure BCB directors are competent to monitor works of National coaches.
We hope cricket family of Bangladesh would objectively evaluate the success and failures of Bangladesh cricket before it gets too late. It is a sad commentary that after over 20 years of ICC test status Bangladesh has to loose tests against Pakistan and India in three days and loose test at home against Afghanistan. Winning Under-19 championship is a once in a blue moon. For sustaining success we have to completely overhaul BCB Cricket management, overhaul domestic cricket.
Post COVID 19 world will be very different. Same thing will be true for cricket as well. Only truly competent professionals would survive in the race for efficiency. Present BCB is definitely not efficient or competent at all.
BDST: 1621 HRS, JUN 20, 2020